Review of Incense Pure on NST

Just a quick post to say there’s a nice review of Incense Pure on Now Smell This today. Thanks, Robin! People seem in agreement that IP is an outdoorsy incense, and I’m glad that IP can add another option to that category. There’s no pine or fir in it, but a number of people have said it gives them the impression of trees along with the incense; I think that may be the elemi and frankincense combined with the little touch of green from the oakmoss. The elemi does have some fresh aspects and a hint of lemon/citrus that probably contributes to that fresh woodsy feeling.

If you find it hard to cap small spray vials…

I’ve been testing 2-3 ml spray vials from various manufacturers, and some of the push-on cap types are very hard to assemble because they are meant to be put on by machine, not by hand. It takes a lot of force to get the caps on. If you have lousy wrists like I do, you may not be able to do it. Even people with strong wrists can struggle with it. When I saw a tweet on twitter today by flittersniffer pleading for help with these vials, I thought it was worth a post because this tip might help someone.

Flittersniffer wrote a humorous blog description of her trials with these vials. I went through the same thing but recently found a solution. I can get the caps on if I use a small hand vice as shown in the above photo. The vial won’t squirt if you apply the force very slowly and smoothly without any release and without letting any air into the vial. You wouldn’t want to do thousands this way, but if you are doing a reasonable number it might help you. The tool only costs around $12-15, and you can even find them on Amazon.

As for me, I’m also considering a type that has glass vials but screw-on caps rather than push-on. I’m looking for vials that don’t leak, spray well, and are not too hard to assemble. I’m still deciding which to pick. Meantime, I thought this discovery might be worth mentioning for those who do some decanting. 🙂 Other people may have good suggestions too and might leave them here and/or on flittersniffer’s post.

Edited to add: the kind of vial shown in the photo is actually one that I’ve learned how to assemble just by hand without a vice or any “pusher” item. They take some practice but once you figure out a method they work pretty well. But there are other kinds I still can’t do without the vice trick.

A New lncense Pure Review, and A Bottle Update

A very nice review of Incense Pure was posted yesterday on I Smell Therefore I Am. Thanks Abby! I’m so glad people are enjoying the natural character of this scent.

I received my samples of the 2 ml vial sprays. They spray well but are hard to assemble, so I’m trying various tactics. I have another vial option that is also glass and not as pretty but easier to assemble and still spray well. Something I learned about these little sprays is that you can’t try a partial or small squirt or they just drip. As long as you push a full spray they work well. (If you want a small controlled application it’s better to use the dabber vials.)

I’m probably going to upgrade to a slightly more complex cap press to ensure repeatable results. The one I’ve been testing works but takes a lot of practice and has a learning curve. If I get one with more controls on it I will be able to have others use it and it’ll be more reliable for me too. Wish I could have been testing these machines while waiting for the bottles, but I only had one sample bottle. It’ll all work out, but it will be a bit longer before l’m ready to put the new bottles out.

Meantime I’m working on the labels too. I’ve decided on the design and am working out the materials for them.

Last weekend I cut quite a few dozen roses from the garden to bring in the house. The first bloom is always a treat. We’re back to rain today, but it should clear up before May Day for the parade in the little town where I grew up. The school kids dress up in costumes and after the parade the girls do a Maypole dance and prizes are awarded for best costumes. It’s cute. 🙂

It’ll be time to get out those spring scents we were talking about for May Day!

Sunny Weekend Update

We finally have beautiful weather here (though more rain is due to start Tuesday), so I want to take advantage of the sunshine and go to a nearby nursery to get plants to replace some that died last winter. I didn’t have a chance to plant anything in the garden last spring or summer other than in pots by the front door, so I have some blank spots to fill in the garden.

Most of the hostas seem to have disappeared over the winter; they just didn’t come up this spring and I’m not sure what happened. Snails love them, but I usually see the new leaves and can ring them with some diatomaceous earth before they are eaten. At least the heuchera and geranium Biokovo are thriving and blooming in the shade area. In the sun area some of the lavender and penstomen need to be replaced. It’ll be nice to take an afternoon off and get out on such a nice day.

I’m still determining whether this press is going to work for the new bottles or whether I need to order a different machine. I’m also still deciding on the final label design; I have a couple possible options and several types of gold foil to choose between.

I’m trying a little more of an amber note in BB and liking it as a softener for the sandalwood base, and I’m trying a bit more tonka as well. I’m narrowing my choices down and zeroing in on something.

I’m sending packages out to the UK again now that planes have resumed flying there, and I’m hoping the transit time won’t be too much longer than normal.

I still plan to do 2 ml sample sprays, but I’m waiting for some samples of glass spray vials and I think they’ve been caught in the flight delays because they are taking a long time to get here. As soon as I get the samples to test, I can decide if these are what I want to use. They look great, but I never know until I try them out. Anyway, I do plan to add the 2 ml spray option, but it will be a bit longer while I source the spray vials. Hope those samples get here soon!

Shipping update

Just a quick post to update international shipping status. The volcanic dust from Iceland has grounded many flights, so I’ve been holding some packages here until flights resume. I’m continuing to ship to Australia and other countries that are not affected right now, but I have some packages for the UK that I’ve held. They are packed and ready to go, and I hope to send them out in a day or two. I just thought they’d be safer here during this chaos. If you’re in a country affected by the dust cloud you might want to put your order off until your airports reopen, but we can work around it if you’d rather order now. Sure hope this clears up soon.

I have a slightly different label design that’s nice on the new bottles and am just working out the details. So far the new press for putting on the pumps seems to do the job. I’m also working on the white floral again.

We had a couple beautiful spring days but now another storm is coming through. Maybe spring will return at the end of the week.

Scents That Sing “Spring!”

Today’s post is a group blog effort in honor of scents that bring the spirit of spring to our hearts. Thanks go to Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums for organizing another great blogging topic!

Two scents are musts for me every spring, or else it just doesn’t feel like spring! One is L’Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons, which is like spring in a bottle to me. The combination of linden, jasmine, orange blossom, and tuberose is cheerful and spring-like without being at all heavy or cloying. For me, lasting power is very good, but some people have trouble with staying power so it’s important to test before buying. La Chasse would be hard to wear without smiling. I prefer the original to the Extreme version.

My second must-wear scent each spring is Creed Fleur de The Rose Bulgare, which is a clear and simple but very true tea rose soliflore. It has light citrusy notes that keep it fresh. It smells oddly realistic, yet it is so linear and long-lasting that it feels overtly synthetic at the same time as seeming real and that contradiction can be a little distracting. I enjoy it anyway, lol. (Don’t confuse it with Creed’s Fleurs de Bulgarie, which is a totally different scent with an ambergris base.)

I also enjoy green florals in spring, though I have trouble with green notes that smell generic, ozonic, or synthetic to me, so I have fewer green floral favorites than I do floral orientals or non-green soliflores. Three green florals that I love are Chanel 19 (great any time of year but especially nice in spring), Guerlain’s Chamade, and Patricia de Nicolai’s Temps d’Une Fete with its pretty hay note.

There are many other floral scents I love, but those mentioned above are a few that seem especially right in spring to me. L’Artisan’s Fleur de Narcisse has wonderful hay note too, but it seems less representative of spring. And I love jasmine soliflores like Serge Lutens A La Nuit, but they seem more like full-blown summer. Orange blossom soliflores like Annick Goutal’s Neroli or Lorenzo Villoresi’s Dilmun also feel like summer to me, though they are equally welcome in spring.

From my line, I enjoy Voile de Violette, Velvet Rose, Rose Musc, and Lieu de Reves in spring, though I’m still wearing the new Incense Pure these days and we have not had spring weather start here yet (still cool and rainy).

In the garden, spring starts here with the daffodils and I love their subtle scent. Then we have the early roses starting, and later the pink jasmine and star jasmine. Star jasmine has a spicier scent and is not actually part of the Jasminum genus (it is Trachelospermum jasminoides). My Mom grows wonderful sweet peas that I love every year, and I’m lucky that she shares! I have a few heirloom sweet peas that re-seed each year in my garden, but her full sun spot is better for them and they really go wild there. I don’t have wisteria in my garden, but it grows in several nearby spots and spreads its scent for yards all around the vines. Spring flowers bring their cheer when the coldest months are ending, and they herald the upcoming longer, warmer days ahead. I love summer so spring is always a welcome sign of the warmer weather to come.

sweet peas

star jasmine from my garden

wisteria I photographed in a nearby garden

Participating blogs:
Smelly Blog
Katie Puckrik Smells
Perfume Shrine
The Non Blonde <
Smell Therefore I Am
Notes from the Ledge
Scent Hive
Savvy Thinker 
Roxana’s Illuminated Journal
Perfume in Progress
All I Am A Redhead      
Ambre Gris
A Rose Beyond the Thames

Another rainy Sunday

It’s been pouring today and not feeling like spring at all, but I had a productive weekend working on taxes and filling orders. We also had some relatives from Sweden visit and it was fun to see them. I bet those who went to the sniffa in NY had a great time. Tomorrow I’m going to set up the cap press for the new bottles and see if it works for me. I’ve been trying some tweaks to the label design for the new bottles too.

I’ll get back to BB this week. I’ve not sent out any new BB testers recently — I’ve been working to finish the base and I’m not there yet. I also returned to a sandalwood musk that I’d put on hold a few months ago. I tweaked the formula a bit more and it seems to be nearly ready for testing. I thought it might help me think about the BB base to get out the sandal musk now.

In case you missed it, there was an interesting interview with Bertrand Duchaufour on the Grain de Musc blog a few days ago.  I look forward to trying his new tuberose scent for L’Artisan.  He commented that recently working as an independent perfumer rather than for a big lab has brought him closer to his materials and is contributing to a change in his style.  I recall another perfumer saying the same thing about becoming closer to the ingredients and will have to try to find that reference. Duchaufour has created a string of innovative wonderful scents and the interview gives a peek at his process.

Review of Incense Pure with an outdoorsy take

Suzanne at Eiderdown Press just posted a lovely review of Incense Pure; her review touched me deeply because it comes from a place I do — the love of the outdoors. She posted a beautiful forest photo that is just the type of spot that brings peace to my soul. I don’t necessarily set out to create scents that evoke natural surroundings, but I think that is so much a part of who I am that it often comes out in the process. An interesting aspect of making any artisanal product is sharing a bit of yourself through what you create, and it’s always touching when you connect with people that way. Several people have told me that the natural incense and resins in this blend are calming to them, which makes me happy to hear. Sometimes I get caught up in the technical aspects of fragrance creation and it’s nice to be reminded of the reason we all enjoy this passion so much — for the pleasure scents can bring when they work with our chemistry and resonate with our lives and experiences. Thanks Suzanne!

Bottles are here!

We picked up the new 1 oz bottles today and they seem to have made the long overseas trip just fine. I’m pleased and relieved. Now I need to set up and test the little hand-operated machine for putting on the spray pumps. I’m modifying the label shape just a little to make them smaller and square because that seems to be a nice proportion on them. I’ll eventually take a picture to post after I fill, cap, and label one of them.

I’m also looking at various options for 2 ml spray samples because I get a lot of requests for those. I’d like to keep the current small glass dauber vials, but I’d like to add a sample set option with the sprays. I found some that spray pretty well and are easy to assemble, but they are plastic. I’ll be getting samples of some in glass as well. These plastic samples I just received spray much better than the others I’ve tested though — a fine spray rather than big droplets. I like them. People would need to use up the samples though and not use them for long-term storage since plastic isn’t good over long time periods. I’ll see if the glass version sprays as well when I get those samples.

Midweek Update

I’m happy that we can pick up the new bottles Wednesday from customs. I hope it goes well. The customs fees ran up higher than estimated, but that is not a huge surprise. I just want the bottles to all be safe and intact. Will see tomorrow!

Nathan posted a review of Incense Pure on his blog. He found it quite dry, and it sounds to me like the labdanum and cistus were weighted too heavily for him. To me, the sandalwood, vanilla, labdanum, and cistus all contribute sweetness, and the myrrh adds a tiny bit too. But to some people the sweet aspects of the labdanum and cistus may not come forward as much as their dry and resinous aspects. The cistus does have a smoky undertone that comes out more strongly to some people than to others. There is no birch tar or cade or other smoky ingredient like that in IP, but the cistus does have a smoky note to it. I suspect some people might do better with the cistus reduced, but we’ll see. I did have some testers tell me not to increase vanilla more or it’d be too sweet for them. It’s tough to balance these to work for all, especially when there’s a wild card like the cistus that varies a lot from one person to the next. I tried adding a very light touch of tonka but found it muted the incense too much, and testers agreed that it was better without. Many people have emailed me with great feedback on IP so far, but if I start to get feedback saying the cistus seems too strong I could make an adjustment, so do feel free to email me with comments either way.

After a very rainy Easter we’re having a nice dry spell for a few sunny days. I need to finish taxes and get back to BB…